By Sara L. Jewell

American manga and anime distributor Tokyopop bolstered a scaled-down physical presence at NYCC 2021 with a handful of fun virtual panels, including Thursday’s “I Didn’t Know That Had a Manga!” which playfully put a spotlight on IP that you might not expect to have a manga or graphic novel adaption. Panelists Kae Winters, Janae Young, and Lena Atanassova introduced work from a wide range of media properties from video games to television, including Assassin’s Creed, Resident Evil, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Lilo and Stitch and Descendants.

The following manhua, graphic novels, and manga were spotlighted in this short panel:

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Blood Brothers by Feng Zi Su
  • Assassin’s Creed Dynasty by Xi Xianzhe and Zhang Xiao
  • Descendants: Mal’s Royal Challenge by author Jason Muell and artist Natsuki Minami
  • Stitch and the Samurai by Hiroto Wada
  • Beauty and the Beast by Mallory Reaves and Studio Dice
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey by author D.J. Milky and artists Kei Ishiyama and Kiroshi Arai
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Mirror Moon by author Mallory Reaves and artists Gabriella Chianello and Nataliya Torretta
  • Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness (upcoming) by author Keith DeCandido, artists TBA

While most physical copies are likely claimed, Winters acknowledged that both Assassin’s Creed comics, released for free comic book day, are still available as free digital downloads from e-book retailers. Winters, a self-professed fan of the video game series, was especially excited that the Blood Brothers book is a canon story.  Young went on to outline the Descendants books, praising their vibrance as full-color graphic novels. Stitch and the Samurai was laughingly described by Winters as “Probably one of my favorites…one of the most bizarre titles I have ever seen in my life.”

For the two volumes of Beauty and the Beast which were released (and sold out) initially to coincide with Disney’s live-action film, Young emphasized how the manga art styles were modulated to underscore the way each volume focused on Belle and the Beast’s perspectives individually with Belle’s book in more of a light shoujo style and The Beast’s with a darker, more high-contrast style that gains color as Belle enters his story.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey books were born of social-media solicited fanart media initially, then ended up receiving Tim Burton’s direct approval for an original story set in the world. Volumes were released in both full color, and black and white with manga tones. Zero’s Journey follows Jack’s ghost dog Zero, whilst Mirror Moon focuses on Sally.

Finally, the Resident Evil book, set to be a full-color companion to the release of the Netflix anime series which released this past summer, was announced to heavily feature fan-favorite Leon Kennedy. Newly announced author DeCandido has previously worked on novelizations of Resident Evil stories.

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